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Generally speaking, wines show their best and the fullest expression of their styles and flavors when served at particular temperatures. Knowing the optimal temperature to serve a wine can therefore mean tasting it at its best and getting the most enjoyment from it.

If you only associate chilled wine with white wines and sparkling wines, think again. Light-bodied reds, such as Beaujolais and Valpolicella should be served lightly chilled.


Serve at room temperature

What is referred to as ‘room temperature for wines’ might be cooler than what you think it is: 59–64 °F (15 to 18 °C).  What we’ve come to expect as normal room temperature for us is significantly warmer than the optimal serving temperature for wines. The widespread use of air conditioning and central heating can often result in rooms being either too hot or too cold.

What temperature should you serve red wines? 

Light red wine should be served lightly chilled between 54–56 °F (12 to 13°C)

Medium-bodied red wine should be served between 56–60 °F (14 to 16°C).

Full-bodied red wine should be served at 59–64 °F (15 to 18 °C).

If red wines are served too cold, they may taste thin and harsh.

Sudden exposure to extreme heat can permanently damage wine. If you need to warm a red wine, simply hold the bowl of the glass in your hands to warm gently.

If red wine is served at a temperature exceeding 64 °F (18°C), it can appear to lose freshness and its flavor structure can become muddled. It should regain balance when cooled to the optimal service temperature (so long as it wasn’t heated suddenly, e.g., sitting on a radiator).